Fiji's Tribal Chef to combine food and fashion
The CRYSTAL BALL
By LICE ROVA
CELEBRITY Chef Lance Seeto will next week give his services and that of his Castaway Island Resort team for free to cook at a glamorous ball which aims to raise money to establish a professional association for fashion designers in the country.
Speaking about the impending Fashion Designers Alliance of Fiji’s Crystal Ball to be held on Saturday February 2, Chef Lance said food and fashion were two fronts on which Fiji could be highlighted on the world stage.
“Like the work we are doing with food in the tourism industry, the fashion community is raising the international focus on Fiji and so we have many things in common,” Chef Lance said.
For the first time in Suva and maybe even Fiji, Chef Lance will conduct an open food site while cooking for guests at the inaugural ‘Crystal Ball’. At $100 a ticket, the celebrity Chef has named his menu ‘Diamonds & Pearl’, enough of a challenge to become the night’s main entertainment. But the celebrity chef is both excited and eager to impress.
“This will be the first for me to cook in a public place and for a fundraiser but this is a good cause and im quite excited,” Chef Lance said. “Castaway Island Resort has generously agreed to sponsor everything to do with the cooking so im bringing down a team of 6 chefs who are also eager for the experience.”
The Castaway Island Resort sponsorship comes at an opportune time for its kitchen staff who have been off normal duties since December’s Cyclone Evan ravaged the western division of Fiji, laying a path of destruction with serious effects on the tourism industry.
Even the Pastry chef is to be part of the team who will cook to the “Diamonds & Pearls” brief and so Fiji’s fashion community will be in for quite a treat.
“Fashion and Food are two of Fiji’s exports which is driving international interest in this country. I believe that Fashion Designers and Fiji Fashion Week is doing important work in telling people about what else we have to offer to the world,” Chef Lance said.
“We do the same work, Food and Fashion and so this time we are bringing to Suva a taste of what we do with tourists so the fashion community can enjoy it. Like fashion, the food industry has had some influence but not enough to drive a bigger international audience so its great to keep doing new things like events like this to influence not just the way we do food but also fashion.”
Naziah Ali, President of the FDAF said the organisation was quite humbled by Chef Lance’s willingness to be a part of the event as the ball would provide much needed funds to get important work done.
“What we are trying to do is make sure that people who have some real creative potential are able to go into business if they want to, whether it’s a retail shop or online. We need to create that access for them because right now, nobody gives anybody a break,” Ms Ali said.
“The event will be quite entertaining with a fashion show, auction of people and fashion wear and an awards ceremony for the hardworking designers who have worked hard to produce fashion in Fiji.”
In a town where there is very little to do by way of recreation, Suva residents and visitors who may often lack exciting formal social outings and the opportunity to dress up may appreciate the inclusion of this to their calendar of events.
“It will be extremely formal, people have to come in gowns not BULA so its not just another function. You will be greeted at the door with complimentary champagne and it will be a party to remember,” Ms Ali said.
Fiji Fashion Week Ltd Managing Director, Ellen Whippy-Knight, who helped establish FDAF said it was an essential event to go to.
“We have been very lucky to score Celebrity Chef Lance Seeto who has committed to his first ever cooking extravaganza in Suva. He understands like we do in the fashion scene, that Fiji has many exports and there is much to be gained not just socially but also economically from organizing events like this to continue to momentum of development that is happening in our country,” Ms Whippy-Knight said.
FJFW is working to support the fashion industry so it can earn the country substantial export earnings. Ms Whippy-Knight said that FIJI has the potential to earn a lot of money from fashion because culture and heritage is a strong part of our society as was the case for France, a country which makes billions from Fashion each year.
“During FJFW 2012, the French Embassy’s Cultural Attache Denis Decraene said the fashion industry in France was worth billions of dollars and the Pacific region could earn a similarly substantial income because like France, culture was important to the islands,” Ms Whippy-Knight said.
"France earns 32 billion EUR a year from fashion and 160,000 sustained by the industry. The French Embassy said fashion is a part of their country’s culture and heritage and it is the same in Fiji, people are passionate about their traditions here."
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Chef Lance Seeto is a Chef, Author, International Food & Travel Writer and currently the Executive Chef on Fiji’s multi-award winning resort, Castaway Island. He has been pioneering a new cutting edge cuisine in the South Pacific for the past 3 years, infusing his Asian heritage with the fresh organic and tropical produce of the Fiji Islands. This work has earned him accolades in mainstream media as well as in the travel industry. He is also an accomplished photojournalist and food & travel writer for The Fiji Times as well as for lifestyle magazines and has amassed an enormous following of both local and international fans via his Facebook blog, Fijian Food Safari. He brings a team of 6 chefs as well as practically his whole kitchen from Castaway Island Resort
The Fashion Designers Alliance of Fiji (FDAF) is a not-for-profit trade association whose membership consists of Fiji’s foremost women swear, menswear, jewelry and accessories designers. The FDAF’s goals are to promote and improve public understanding and appreciation of fashion design, establish and maintain a Code of Ethics and practices of mutual benefit in professional, public, and trade relations, and to advance its artistic and professional standards.
Fiji Fashion Week (FJFW) is run by Fashion Week (Fiji) Limited (FWL) a limited liability company incorporated in the Republic of Fiji in January, 2009. The company’s primary objective is to create a world class fashion week event which helps nurture, develop and promote individual stakeholders in Fiji’s fashion industry.
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